Evans Opts For Fiji Over City-Country
Told officials he will bypass the Tamworth fixture to stay in Sydney next week to run out for Fiji against PNG
The whole experience and the camp – the boys I do it with – they make it. Petero [Civoniceva] said it was the best camp he’s been on and the best bunch of boys ... that was big coming from him. I felt in my heart it was best to play for Fiji.
Kane Evans Roosters prop
The lure of playing in next year’s World Cup could trigger some fringe representative players to shun the City- Country clash, instead opting to represent an island nation in the Pacific Test match double-header. Roosters prop Kane Evans, who pulled on a City jumper for the first time last year under coach Brad Fittler, will lead the charge and has already told officials he will bypass the Tamworth fixture to stay in Sydney next week to run out for Fiji against Papua New Guinea at Pirtek Stadium. But he potentially won’t be the only player who featured in last year’s annual State of Origin trial who will make themselves unavailable for selection in 2016. Penrith pair Waqa Blake and Reagan Campbell-Gillard also played in the Wagga clash 12 months ago, but are mulling whether to preference Fiji over earning another spot in the City squad. The decisions could provide a minor boost for international rugby league, which has been questioned in recent weeks as a host of high-profile players, headed by defector Semi Radradra, make themselves unavailable for the smaller nations.
But Evans is one who is happy to tread a different path – for now. “The whole experience and the camp – the boys I do it with – they make it,” Evans said of his impending Fiji call-up. “It’s not just about footy, it’s about God as well. That’s a big thing for me.
“Petero [Civoniceva] said it was the best camp he’s been on and the best bunch of boys ... that was big coming from him. I felt in my heart it was best to play for Fiji.”
Blake is yet to make his international debut, but has an eye on pulling on the Fiji jumper for the first time with a sprinkling of family back home and his parents based in Perth. “I haven’t played for my country yet and if it comes it comes,” he said. “But at the moment I’m just trying to concentrate on being consistent every week.” Fiji coach Mick Potter will be keeping a keen eye on the Roosters’ clash with the Knights at Allianz Stadium given Evans’ teammate Eloni Vunakece is vying for selection alongside Newcastle’s Saifiti twins, Jacob and Daniel.
On Radradra’s decision to pledge his allegiance to Australia, Evans said: “It’s a good opportunity for him to make some good coin and it’s funny as there as so many good backs for the Fijian team ... quality backs that won’t even get a run. “If you look at the last World Cup Semi Radradra was coming off the bench as a second-rower because we had so many wingers and centres that are going so well in the NRL. “It’s good for him and will give someone else an opportunity, but there are so many other backs that can play for Fiji.”